Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Effective Are "Texting Bans"?

With Alberta following on the heels of other states in attempting to ban drivers from "texting" on their mobile phones, it is of some importance that we pay attention to the effectiveness of such bans implemented in other jurisdictions.

Apparently they aren't as effective as you might expect - in fact collision rates have gone up in some areas.

"Texting bans haven't reduced crashes at all. In a perverse twist, crashes increased in 3 of the 4 states we studied after bans were enacted. It's an indication that texting bans might even increase the risk of texting for drivers who continue to do so despite the laws," says Adrian Lund, president of both HLDI and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Now, can we get away from ever more ridiculous "distracted driving laws", and start finding real solutions to the issues involved? I don't know what the solutions are for this issue, but it doesn't live in the realm of ever increasing police powers.

I'm not saying that texting (or other activity) while driving is a smart thing to do - far from it in fact. The fact is that there is a whole new generation of drivers out there, and they grew up with this technology. Driving requires that you pay attention to what's on the road - this is indisputable. However, if the laws criminalizing "texting" result in an increase in collisions, they are clearly the wrong solution.

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